tablehopper
table of contents This week's tablehopper: drink like a fish, or just where to eat them.

the chatterbox
the word on the street
fresh meat
new restaurant reviews

the lush
put it on my tab
the socialite
shindigs/feasts/festivals
the starlet
no photos please
the matchmaker
let's get it on

the sponsor
this round is on me

Golden Glass

CHOW

MAY 20, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Forget Bay to Breakers, last week was like my own personal culinary and cocktail marathon—I was out late enjoying the warm nights, SF Cocktail Week activities like bourbon and bacon dinners, an albariño wine tasting, and then Sunday night was the annual Meals on Wheels event, a stellar showcase for local culinary talent that's downright mind boggling. Just eating and sipping your way through the cocktail reception is daunting enough, knowing a three-course dinner is quickly coming up. Fan favorites included the duck tostadas from Zuni (oh yeah), the fava bean, marinated feta and mint flatbreads from Terzo, and Justin Deering of Conduit's oxtail tortellini. (Have you had that dish at the restaurant yet? It's a winner).

imageThis year the organizers let the press go behind the scenes and watch the chefs prepare and plate their courses; it's quite the set, a sea of white, both jackets and dishes. I was fortunate to eat an appetizer by Stuart Brioza of Rubicon. It was scallop, geoduck clam, and kampachi with an avocado "soup" and tangerine gelatina that had a chili kick—I realized it was the dish I'd been craving the entire hot week. Our table's menu continued with a savory chicken and pancetta crespelle with spring peas from Nate Appleman of A16, and some of the best beef I'd had in ages, a serving of Wagyu prepared by Douglas Keane of Cyrus. (If anyone is curious about all the individual menus, dishes, and chefs, I've posted a copy of the dinner menu here—rubberneck away.)

imageAnd once dinner wrapped up, it was back to the main room for the biggest Candyland display of dessert. Was thrilled to be able to try pastry chef William Werner's latest creations from his new venture, polite persuasion, and the mouthful of strawberry goat cheese cream tart from Boulevard's Jessica Sullivan was a delight. Ditto on the springtime sweet of roasted cherries, cornmeal shortcake, and fromage blanc by Michelle Polzine of Range. Perfect finish. And I was finished. Let's just say Monday was salad day. I think Tuesday will be too. Didn't have the final numbers, but thus far, Fund-A-Route alone brought in over $308,000, almost a 50% increase over 2007! That's fantastic news for such an important organization. Congratulations and thanks to all whom were involved in putting on this mega event.

Since we're on dessert… it's crazy how many emails I got from folks last week who also remember the warm chocolate brioche cake from Rumpus that I mentioned. I'm obviously not the only one with fond memories of that decadent dessert. I decided I needed to do a shout-out and see if anyone out there has access to the recipe? I'd love to reprint it here!

Gratefully yours,

~Marcia subscribe
the chatterbox

Golden GlassMAY 20, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO I've been tracking this one down for a while, and while details are still forthcoming, I know some culinary globetrotters will be happy to hear chef ~NORIYUKI SUGIE~, most recently of New York's Asiate at the Mandarin Oriental, is involved in a project in the Upper Haight. I know, the Haight, how unexpected. Nori Sugie is known and admired for his elegant and refined Franco/Euro-Japanese fusion style—he was mentor to Joel Huff of Silks, cooked at Charlie Trotter's in Chicago, and was at Tetsuya in Sydney, where he won "Restaurant of the Year" twice. Even more interesting, this new project is going to be in the Spencer House, an eight-room Queen Anne-style Victorian B&B—somewhat mimicking the "ryokan" (auberge) concept you'd encounter in Japan. Initially it seems only hotel guests will be able to experience his omakase-style (chef's choice) dinners, and some private dinners might be in the works too. And there are discussions of a sashimi-tapas concept for another downstairs room in the hotel—all TBD for now while he works out details. Chef Sugie mentioned he's inspired to do a California-meets-Japanese style of cuisine here, full of fresh organic vegetables and flavors—he also said he loves bar food. Things are a few months off, I'll have more deets later, you can count on it. The Spencer House, 1080 Haight St. at Broderick.

In the meantime, folks in Los Angeles are going to continue enjoying Sugie's temporary guest chef stint (called CRUDOBAR) at BREADBAR in Century City, which was just extended for a couple more months. Examples of a few dishes he's doing: blue fin tuna tartar with pickled fennel, dry caper, and sushi rice puree, and black cod sliders with leafy mizuna, pickles, wasabi tartar sauce, and spicy chimichurri.

The rumor I heard earlier this month proved to be true: Ryan Scott, most recently of Myth Café and the current season of Top Chef, will be a chef and partner in the petite ~MISSION BEACH CAFÉ~, joining Bill Clarke and Alan Carter in the project. Hmmm, perhaps my article for San Francisco magazine on the up-and-coming North Mission neighborhood was prescient? Scott begins June 23rd—he'll be integrating his Cali-fresh style of cooking (read: no piccata), and will keep prices affordable for lunch and dinner. I'll have some menu details soon. 198 Guerrero St. at 14th St., 415-861-0198.

Since we're talkin' ~TOP CHEF~, you have until Tuesday, May 27th (until 12:01pm ET) to vote for your fan favorite! The chef who receives the most votes during the promotion period will be eligible to receive $10,000. Here's how you can vote: vote for free here. Limit 40 votes per person (20 vote limit per week) regardless of voting method between May 14, 2008 at 9pm ET and May 27, 2008 at 12:01pm ET.

Here's one big, fat, interesting and completely unconfirmed rumor, but I had to share it: ~GORDON RAMSAY~ may be looking into the Myth space. Fun one to think about, will let you know if it's even remotely real. I have also heard rumors involving a dining duo who are much closer to home, but that's all just talk too. Stand by for more transmissions!

Eater had the scoop on the closure of downtown's ~LES AMIS~, which I'm honestly surprised didn't happen months ago—total crickets in there. Shame, because the space was kind of cool. I'd heard some buzz a few months back about potential purchasers of the space, but nothing final to report at the moment. 568 Sacramento St. at Montgomery, 415-291-9145.

~TINDERBOX RESTAURANT~ in Bernal Heights has temporarily closed as of this last Saturday, May 17th. Owners Ryan Russell and Blair Warsham (aka "Food Freaks" as they say on their website) are back in the think tank (but don't put them in a box!), and plan to reopen the venue with a different concept later this summer. They are discussing hosting reservations-only dinner events several times a week, collaborating with musicians and artists (supperclub lite?), and want to expand the Tinderbox catering service. Look for more around August at the same address. 803 Cortland Ave. at Ellsworth, 415-285-8269.

Another rebel with a culinary cause: more details have emerged about "Dissident Chef" Russell Jackson's restaurant on Pier 5. The 2,100-square-foot bay-front space will open this winter as ~LAFITTE~. Architect Michael Guthrie (Myth, Bix, Tra Vigne, and Spoon) is designing the space, which includes an outdoor patio, and how's this for a feature: pleasure boats will eventually be able to pull up to Pier 5, where the restaurant is located.

It wouldn't be a week in San Francisco without some wine bar news. In an interesting twist, it looks like Luisa Hanson is expanding her ever-growing empire to the Mission: ~LA VINO TECA~ is opening in the former Caffe Bellissimo space next to Kiji. Yes, it's the same name as the place she just opened in Cow Hollow, in the former Skipjack Sushi space. 1007 Guerrero St. at 22nd St.

A few weeks ago I mentioned ~MAGNOLIA GASTROPUB & BREWERY’S~ upcoming changes... Please note due to some ever-present construction delays, Magnolia won't reopen until this Thursday at 5pm for dinner (not Wednesday as hoped). 1398 Haight St. at Masonic, 415-864-7468.

In mid-June, ~LEVEL III~ will be opening in Union Square's new 337-room JW Marriott San Francisco (formerly the Pan Pacific). It's a stylish freestanding restaurant and lounge on the third floor lobby level. The space will transform into more of a bar vibe in the evening, with a custom cocktail menu by H. Ehrmann of Elixir. There will be a variety of spaces to linger in, from the communal table to the bar, with both high and low seating options, either in the main restaurant or lounge. Executive chef Ben Mattman and chef Ryan Jette have put together a modern American menu, with bar bites like littleneck clams on the half shell with chorizo and breadcrumbs, saffron seafood chowder, and tempura asparagus. Larger dishes include a lobster club, American Kobe sliders, halibut tacos, and a three-course $45 menu devised for the pre-theater crowd, available from 5:30pm–10pm. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the menus at Level III will change throughout the day. JW Marriott, 500 Post St. at Mason, 415-771-8600.

And now, a few yogurt updates around town—they are like the new wine bars, I swear. According to a tablehopper reader sighting (thank you!), the ~SOGREEN~ yogurt shop window in Crocker Galleria is announcing its opening this Thursday, May 22nd. 50 Post St. at Montgomery, Space 10, Level One.

And then according to a post on Craigslist, ~YOGURT BAR~ on Union (2760 Octavia St., actually) is expanding to a new location mid-June 2008, at 680 Mission St. between 2nd and 3rd St.

More details on my mention last week concerning ~LA CORNETA TAQUERIA~ moving into the Pagoda Palace Theater on Washington Square (next to old Washbag space). I spoke with consultant Martin Kirkwood of Terra Nova Projects, and he filled me in that even though the planning commission meeting is slated for August, the soonest we'd even see anything would be 2010. Owner Joel Campos has had the space for four years, but due to the Telegraph Hill Dwellers' objections, the project continues to be stymied (he has submitted ten different designs and concepts for the building, and counting). And so the building remains unused. 1741 Powell St. at Union.

In case you like making reservations (I do), ~SERPENTINE~ in Dogpatch is now taking them. 2495 3rd St. at 22nd St., 415-252-2000.

Now that the fog has returned, it feels like the perfect time to partake in some meat. Wild boar carnitas, anyone? How about some yak Rossini, or rack of wapiti? The Big 4's annual ~WILD GAME WEEK~ is now being held twice a year: this new springtime session starts today, and will run until Friday the 24th of May. You can look at the menu here. The second Wild Game Week of 2008 will occur in early November. The Huntington Hotel, 1075 California St. at Taylor, 415-474-5400.

I imagine there will be quite the turnout for this event: ~MAYOR GAVIN NEWSOM AND ALICE WATERS~ will be at an upcoming CitySpeaks, a forum to discuss "A Vision for Good, Sustainable, Fair Food" on Monday, June 2nd at 7pm (doors open at 6:30pm). Seating is limited, so respond quickly, by May 29th to 415-554-6279 or CitySpeaks@sfgov.org. San Francisco Main Library, Koret Auditorium—enter at 30 Grove Street and proceed to the lower level.

Mark your calendar: ~MARIQUITA FARM NIGHT~ is Thursday, June 12th, at Piccino for a "guerilla vegetable delivery" from 5pm–7pm from a van stuffed to the max with generously packed $25 "mystery boxes." For details and to order, click here. 801 22nd St. at Tennessee, 415-824-4224.

Over in the East Bay, the BIG NEWS is that ~CAMINO~, Russell Moore's and Allison Hopelain's first solo restaurant, is officially open! I toured the space a month or so ago, and can't wait to see that huge fireplace in action, and the long redwood communal tables full of feasting guests. If you'd like a recap on the details, click here for my past mention back in March—just scroll down. Hours are Sun–Thu 5pm–10pm (closed Tuesdays!), and Fri–Sat 5pm–11pm. 3917 Grand Ave. at Boulevard Way (more commonly referred to being between Safeway and Ace Hardware), Oakland, 510-547-5035.

Later this fall, ~PICÁN RESTAURANT~ will be opening in Oakland's "Uptown" at Broadway and Grand. First-time restaurant owner and NOLA native Michael LeBlanc will present a "Taste of the South," featuring dishes that originated in African-American kitchens (think Southern, Cajun, Creole and Caribbean influences) plus beverages, music, and art unique to the African-American Southern heritage, with some California-casual style. LeBlanc says the food will be "down home traditional meets cosmopolitan sophistication." The restaurant will be on the ground floor of Signature Properties' Broadway Grand; LeBlanc expects to break ground this summer. LeBlanc was among the first Black students to graduate from Duke University and went on to become the first African-American corporate officer in the history of Polaroid; he also co-founded Brothers Brewing Company in Oakland, the first African-American brewing company in the country. Being a smart first-time restaurateur, LeBlanc has assembled a notable group of partners and advisors for this project. Picán will have 130 seats with an additional 44 outside, with an open kitchen, and a bar and lounge featuring the largest collection of handmade, single-batch bourbons west of the Mississippi (I am so there). 2295 Broadway at Grand, Oakland. 

Up north, ~MURRAY CIRCLE~, the restaurant at Sausalito's about-to-open Cavallo Point Resort, had its soft opening last Monday. Executive chef Joseph Humphrey, the noted former chef of Meadowood Resort in St. Helena, has put together a small plates menu with seafood dishes like spot prawns with fava beans and little gem lettuces ($17); wild halibut grilled in fig leaves with sassafras, orange, and fennel "brandade" ($16); vegetables like baby artichokes served chilled ($15); wild morels with hand-cut pappardelle, favas, and duck prosciutto ($16/$25); meat dishes like quail with romesco, Swiss chard, dry-cured olives, and arugula ($18); and a bluefoot chicken with Savoy cabbage and mustard seed vinaigrette ($19). There is also a nightly five-course tasting menu for $95, and a vegetable tasting menu for $75. The wine list is a monster, representing one of America's largest wine cellars—when fully assembled by wine director Dan O'Brien, it will feature over 13,000 bottles and 2,000 labels. The 100-seat restaurant has lovely views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay, a brick fireplace, plus a terrace with room for 20. There is also an adjoining bar, Farley, named in honor of cartoonist Phil Frank that will also be serving additional dishes, from some crudos to olive oil-fried items (yup, olive-oil fried lamb meatballs), plus hearty wood-fired options, like a grass-fed burger, sand dabs, beef brisket, and a pork shoulder. Breakfast daily 7am–10am; lunch Mon–Fri 11:30am­–2pm; dinner Sun–Thu 5:30pm–10pm, Fri–Sat 5:30pm–11pm; brunch Sat–Sun 11am–2:30pm. Farley Bar is open Sun–Thu 11am–11pm, and Fri–Sat 11am–12am. 601 Murray Circle, Fort Baker, Sausalito, 415-339-4750.


Got a hot tip? You know I'd love it (and you). Just reply to this email!

 
the sponsor

Golden Glass

SLOW Sipping: 5th Annual Golden Glass Wine Event
Sunday June 8, Fort Mason's Festival Pavilion
Grand Tasting: 3-7 pm

Let your glass be your guide through some of the most exciting sustainably-produced, terroir-expressive wines from New Zealand, Spain, Australia, South Africa, Argentina, Chile, France, Germany, and Italy at the 5th Annual Golden Glass wine event on June 8th at Fort Mason's Festival Pavilion. Delicious treats from top Bay Area restaurants, live music, educational wine seminars, and winemaker dinners round out the offerings!

Tickets: $50 advance purchase, $60 at the door ($45 Slow Food members).

For more info, visit www.thegoldenglass.com. Proceeds from Golden Glass benefit the Slow Food SF School Garden Project and Slow Food USA's "Ark of Taste" program.  


 
fresh meat

image

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Photos by Val Atkinson

Waterbar
399 The Embarcadero
Cross: Folsom St.
San Francisco, CA 94105

415-284-9922
website

Lunch
11:30am–2pm daily
Dinner
5:30pm–10pm nightly

Apps $13–$19
Entrées $29–$70
Desserts $8–$9

 

 

CHOW

MAY 20, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO I get asked this question quite a lot on my tip please service: "Where can I go for a nice view and seafood?" Personally, I've given up on the "dining with a view thing" being worth it, unless I'm slumming it with a hangover cheeseburger and a Bud at Red's Java Shack, or tucking into a brunch plate from Primavera on a back bench at the Ferry Building on a Saturday morning. Well, there is Greens, especially swell in the summertime because of a grilled peach dish I remember having. But no seafood there. Meow.

So if I want seafood, I'm either gonna hit Bar Crudo, Anchor in the Castro, or Swan on Polk. Oh, and Tadich for their pan-fried sand dabs. And now there's Anchor & Hope to happily add to my list. But no view.

So what about the nice couple from Ohio who want a San Francisco seafood experience, and a view, and don't mind throwing down a couple bills for a special occasion? I can't send them to Bar Crudo—the rock and tattoos will make them upset. The line at Swan doesn't need to get any longer. You know, they'll be happy as a clam at ~WATERBAR~. Ditto on the business lunchers and power diners—nothing like closing a deal over $90 worth of chilled shellfish on ice, clink clink. And a couple out for his 55th birthday dinner, I say go for it.

But is this is a place where I'd personally hang out? Mmmmm, that really depends. If my friend was in town on an expense account and insisting on some fancy fins for supper, okay, sure, let's do it up. And now that the patio is open, a lobster roll for lunch on a sunny day would be in the pocket. But is this where I'd go on a Thursday night date? Eh, maybe in 20 years.

Don't get me wrong, the menu here has some definite charmers, like the briny Cove Miyagi and creamy Preston Point oysters ($2.75 each—be careful) literally delivered fresh to the executive chef Parke Ulrich's home up north, and I liked the sea bream sashimi with bright fennel and blood orange ($14). I'm glad Ulrich is committed to using local and sustainable seafood—no Chilean sea bass, swordfish, or monkfish on the menu here.

The menu is as big as the venue. Practically Old and New Testament. I actually got overwhelmed with the choices, and then the descriptions are a bit vague and assumptive, because what I got and what I expected were a bit different on a few occasions. The shellfish soup ($9) was full of concentrated shellfish flavor—and strained, almost like a fumet. I expected some actual shellfish, even a paltry clam, and the salt cod on the crouton wasn't quite enough to swing it. I think servers should explain it won't have nary a shell in it. Managing expectations, you know.

Another example: the local halibut with foie gras ($18) comes resting in an unanticipated bath of lukewarm "lobster essence"—I guess I was expecting a reduction. And why was the dish in "Salads and Such?" I'd separate the Salads and the "and Such" into their own sections entirely—it's confusing to have warm dishes mixed in there. This section has eight choices alone, preceded by nine ceviches and starters. As someone who likes seafood, I really had a hard time focusing and choosing. It was like being in the toothbrush aisle.

But wait, it's time for mains. Will it be crab? Oven roasted, or chilled? Whole fish? And how about halibut, or haddock, or scallop, or char? (All the mains are around $30, unless you're going for mister big-ticket lobster, $58). Ack! I don't know! Can I just have the chef choose for me?

We opted for the turbot ($65), which was big enough for two, and then some. It was presented tableside, whisked back to the kitchen for deboning, and then brought back at the table. By the time we got it on our plates, the fish wasn't very warm, and the un-heated dish didn't help matters. But the fish was quite gorgeous, with a lovely delicacy, quite dreamy with the Champagne poaching liquid poured on top, and a medley of delicious side sauces to try, like an almond and olive tapenade, an aioli with herbes fines, and the smooth salsa verde (our favorite).

We also devoured the side of Delta asparagus, plump tender spears with a slight char that came with the fish (you can take your pick of one side—this would be the dish to order, the wild mushrooms were rather sodden with oil).

Dessert called for something refreshing, in this case the roasted pineapple tart with crème fraîche custard ($9)—perfect crust and tangy flavor, too bad the desiccated pineapple slice wasn't very attractive. (At least it was tasty.) I couldn't quite saddle up for the brownie parfait I saw on numerous tables, but it looked like quite the chocolate fest. We also tried the walnut torte, but I was sated after a few bites, which was just as well.

Service was polite and friendly, sometimes incredibly attentive and informative, and other times completely amiss—I saw it happening at other tables as well. It's a big operation, lots of moving parts.

So, that view. Yup, it's quite spectacular—you can watch the lights shimmer and go down on the water and across the Bay at sunset, so time your table if you can. If you're going, see about requesting one of the primo booths in the main room—I'd be bummed if I got stuck in the side room. And the upstairs also has an amazing room for a private party, with its own terrace.

The bar and lounge area was hopping all night, with the dramatic "caviar" chandelier twinkling above the horseshoe raw bar, tables of folks drinking martinis and eating oysters. You know, once the patio season ends, I'd still come back to sit in the lounge, order some oysters, gravlax, and ceviche… everyone should at least come see this place and splurge on a bite.

During dinner, I was obsessed with watching the enormous columns of fish tanks—it was fish TV! The one closest to us had this huge eel that would emerge from the bottom and go for a quick spin around the tank every once in a while. (It totally knew what it was doing.) Everyone in the nearby section would start pointing and making comments, ranging from "Duuuuuuuuude!" (the table of business guys) to "Oh my, he's sooooooo ugly!" (the woman on a date). It would be enough for someone walking by to get a complex: "Hey lady, you talkin' to me? Oh, the eel is out. Never mind." The eel really is ugly. It's marvelous.

Kuleto dreams big. I love how committed he is to creating a space and a feeling and an experience, no matter how many millions of ducats it will take. So while I ultimately prefer more intimate dining experiences, and envelope-pushing dishes, I can see why he wanted to create this kind of restaurant for San Francisco—it's meant to be a fun fantasy for people. And it was needed. If anyone was going to do it up, it would be Kuleto. But the space is so big on personality, I think it makes it hard for the restaurant's simpler style of food to measure up. Cue the eel.

 
the lush

CHOWMAY 20, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO I've been excited about this new project that's "in the werks": coming in July will be ~ZWEIBAR~, (site coming soon), just like a little Bavarian train station café that has magically appeared in the Mission. Partners in the project are Chris Gorog of Revel Industries (you might know him from behind the bar at Gestalt Haus), and Fra Kepler, who started Atlas Café, Treat Street, and Gestalt. There will be a variety of sausages available, try ten, with many that will be private-label when the place opens. (Can't wait to try the beer one, heh.) They've been taste testing for months, so I trust the vittles will be right-on. Everything will be house-made, including the spätzle, and the traditional salads, like a raw purple cabbage variation—but everything will have a slight Cali spin on it (read: healthy). Food will also be available to go, great for folks who work and live in the area. The space was most recently the El Farito deli and is a cozy 1,000 square feet, with communal tables and 20 bar stools, where you can take your pick from 20 beers on tap ($4 a pint), 20 well-chosen wines by the glass (starting at $5 each), and 20 bottles of beer from around the world. The plan is to be open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week—will let you know when the opening date is close. 2400 Folsom St. at 20th St.

imageSnags have ended, so now I can talk about ~PISCO LATIN LOUNGE~, James Schenk of Destino's new project I alluded to a few weeks back. Think early 1900s bar that will pay homage to San Francisco's legendary pre-Prohibition Bank Exchange Bar, home of their signature Pisco Punch, considered to be San Francisco's first cocktail. Some say the original Pisco Punch recipe was a secret, others say it was lost during Prohibition, but reportedly Guillermo Toro-Lira, Pisco's unofficial historian, recently rediscovered the recipe through painstaking research. Other cocktails include the Chichabana, a Pisco-infused cocktail with a spicy purple corn punch (I think I've tasted this before, delish); the Algorobina, a traditional South American cocktail made with carob syrup; and a Dulce de Leche Martini; as well as a full array of mojitos. The wine list will focus on Spanish and South American varietals, plus some California boutique vintages.

There will also be some South American-inspired bar bites ($8–$18), like fried quinoa risotto balls with shiitake mushrooms and romesco salsa; jamon Serrano-wrapped endive boats with grilled peaches and Cabrales cheese; Peruvian tiradito, plus sweet finishes too. The design team behind the project is Architects II (Bin 38, Levende East, Mexico DF) who are referencing yet modernizing the classic concept and materials with a 26-foot-long walnut bar, rich red accents, low-slung lounge seating mixed with cocktail tables for two, and this I gotta see: "a floating island surrounded by a water feature with changing lights that sends ripples of color up the surrounding walls." There will also be a modern chandelier, ceiling-high wine towers creating a "pisco shrine," plus doors that lead into Destino. There will be DJs, live music, and a nightly "social hour" from 5pm–7pm. Pisco will be open in the end of June or beginning of July, six days a week, Tue–Sun, 5pm–midnight, and serving late until 1am Fri–Sat (the bar will open for drinks one hour past kitchen closure). 1817 Market St. at Octavia.

Anyone with estrogen (or something approximating it) is getting ready for the release of ~S*X AND THE CITY~ (*I gotta be careful of those spam filters) on May 30th. Presidio Social Club has created a version of a cosmo in honor of their favorite character, Samantha, which they will serve through the opening weekend for the film (Friday, May 30th through Sunday June 1st). Their version, called "Samantha's Holy Water," is made with Hangar One Mandarin Blossom vodka, grapefruit juice, Cointreau, Leopold's Cranberry Liqueur and a splash of cranberry, $8. You can get that paired with a mixed greens salad for $17, no joke. Bldg. 563 Ruger Street (just inside the Lombard Gate), 415-885-1888.

Last week's weather totally had me scouring my fridge for rosé, drinking up the Sinskey vin gris at Spork, and closing Zeitgeist with a pitcher (I had company, mind you). In case you'd like more ideas on summer sippers, swing by ~WILLIAM CROSS WINE MERCHANTS~ this Wednesday evening, May 21st, from 6pm–9pm to taste some light summer wines (wines that are under 13% alcohol), including: 2006 Krizevci Grasevina Kalnik Croatia; 2006 Gunn Estate Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough; 2006 Jean-Paul Brun Terres Dorees "L'Ancien" Beaujolais Vieilles Vignes; 2005 Domaine Chevalier Pere & Fils Bourgogne Rouge; 2004 Chateau La Coustarelle Cahors; and 2005 Les Cretes Torrette Vallee d'Aoste. The flight is $15. 2253 Polk St. at Green, 415-346-1314.

~UNCORKED EVENTS~ will be hosting the second anniversary of their "Best Of" Tasting on Wednesday, June 4th. Their favorite wines from around the world will be represented, over 100 in all, plus some Belgian and German beer stations. Virtually every wine will be 90 points+ rated, with many small production, hard-to-find gems. Rounding out the night will be a spread of hors d'oeuvres from A.G. Ferrari, plus tunes from DJ Sol. This event will sell-out, so purchase tickets in advance. $40 through May 21st, $50 after, $60 door (if available). 6pm–9pm. Club Sportiva & On The Fly Showrooms, 840 Harrison St. at 5th St.

 
the sponsor

CHOW

CHOW: Your Party Starters
These teasingly sunny (but chilly!) spring days can put you in a more outdoorsy state of mind. Whether you're packing the cooler for Tahoe or firing up your backyard grill, CHOW has you covered with camping recipes and grilling tips guaranteed to deliver good eats. After a hearty hike, indulge your camping crew with such dishes as boozy campfire cheese and strawberry shortcake on a stick. And before you slap a steak on the grill, check out CHOW's gas versus charcoal guide and green grilling tips.

Should the fog creep in, you can always ditch the outdoor flames for some indoor gaming heat with our Wii party menu, featuring one-handed bites from chicken skewers with dukkah crust to drunken watermelon pops. And no matter where the party is, bring along some star-studded action with a bottle or two of celebrity booze—Mansinthe anyone?

 
the socialite

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Acquerello Italian Winemakers Dinner
Mon., June 2, 2008

1722 Sacramento St.
Cross: Polk St.
San Francisco, CA 94109

415-567-5432

website

6:30pm

$190 inclusive of wine, tax and gratuity

Call or email info@acquerello.com.


MAY 20, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO ~ITALIAN NATIONAL DAY~ (or La Festa Della Repubblica Italiana) commemorates the establishment of a democratic republic in Italy on June 2, 1948. How timely, Italia Wine Imports and the Jug Shop are bringing a group of 15 Italian winemakers representing several regions of Italy and styles of wine to San Francisco.

Acquerello is hosting a special winemaker dinner; it will start with a standing reception at 6:30pm, followed by sit-down dinner at 7pm. Limited to 40 guests.

Here's the list of producers:
Bric Cenciurio (Barolo) – Carlo Sacchetto
Ferraris (Castagnole Monferrato, Piemonte) - Luca Ferraris
Fratelli Molino (Treiso, Piemonte) - Dario Molino
La Giustiniana (Gavi, Piemonte) – Enrico Tomalino
Orsolani (Caluso, Piemonte) – Gianluigi Orsolani
Beltrame (Friuli) - Christian Beltrame
Le Casalte (Montepulciano) - Chiara Barioffi
Bonci (Ancona, Marche) – Giuseppe Bonci
Luciano Landi (Belvedere Ostrense, Marche) - Luciano Landi
Cantine Martinelli (Bevagna, Umbria) – Claudio Martinelli
Vitalonga (Montiano, Umbria) – Gian Luigi Maravalle
Fattoria La Rivolta (Torrecuso, Campania) – Paolo Cotroneo
6 Mura (Isola dei Nuraghi, Sardegna) – Vincenzo Aru'
DiGiovanna (Sambuca di Sicilia) – Gunther DiGiovanna
Poggio di Bortolone (Ragusa, Sicily) – Pierluigi Cosenza

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Best of the Bay Area Party
Thu., June 26, 2008

Concourse Exhibition Center
635 8th St.
Cross: Brannan St.
San Francisco, CA 94103

website

VIP 6pm–11pm
main event 7pm–11pm

VIP $175 advance/$200 at the door

main event $100 advance/$125 at the door
you only pay $90 (promo code: TBLHPPR)

Buy tickets at www.sanfranmag.com before June 2nd and save!


MAY 20, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO It's time for the annual San Francisco magazine hootenanny: this will be the eighth annual ~BEST OF THE BAY AREA PARTY~. Join San Francisco magazine as they toast the best people, places, and things that make the Bay Area the best place to live, work, and play. Enjoy free-flowing bars, tables of hors d'oeuvres (check out the list of participating local restaurants here), plus entertainment and dancing all night—there also seems to be a lot of flirting that goes on. The events helps support one of San Francisco's most respected nonprofits, Family House.

There is a special tablehopper discount code (TBLHPPR), valid from 5/19–6/2. BUY EARLY! Tickets sold out in 2007 days before the event. Your tickets must be purchased before June 2nd to get this discount and are based on availability.

Have fun!

 
the starlet

MAY 20, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO A tablehopper reader reported Chevy Chase showed up to eat at A16 with a large party, and was "looking distinguished."

Green Day was spotted dining at À Côté in the East Bay.

A couple readers noted chef Todd English was at Bong Su last Thursday night.

And now in the "tacky sightings" section, Joe Francis (founder of Girls Gone Wild) was spotted dining at Bin 38 with reportedly a pile-up of Marina gals going gaga for him, literally lining up to talk to him as he held court for about three hours. Ladies, come on now. He was also spotted at the bar area of the Slanted Door, on a date with some brunette. Perhaps someone he met at Bin 38? (The tablehopper reader says, "I'm guessing it was a date because they were all over each other.")

 
the matchmaker

Popular, Upscale and Hip Neighborhood Bistro Seeks Head Chef Who Is Passionate About Mediterranean Cuisine.

This is the perfect position for an ambitious, talented, and creative sous chef who is ready for their next step up. It is an opportunity for you to make your mark with the public and press. We serve dinner Tuesday thru Sunday and Saturday and Sunday brunch.

Your commitment to our success includes:

  • Maintain food and labor percentages at all times
  • Seasonally (every six to eight weeks) refresh the menu using sustainable, unusual and regional products
  • Create nightly and weekly specials in addition to any seasonal changes
  • Work the line and keep it clean and organized at all times
  • Be a leader with a friendly, likeable, playful spirit
  • Have a pleasant, no-temper personality along with the communication skills to make work enjoyable for both back and front-of-house employees
  • Understanding that we have a highly repetitive clientele and your willingness to be friendly with and to keep them happy will make a difference

Please submit resume to JP13501@yahoo.com.

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Environmentally Conscious Investors wanted to be part of the penultimate green restaurant (with full bar and patio) opening in Berkeley in early 2009. With over $1 million raised to date, the founders need just a few extra investors proud to be part of this high profile venture across the street from the UC campus and close to major performance venues.  
 
The award of this dining development project is a coup for our nationally recognized team and for you—if you have $25,000 or more to invest. In addition to expected return on investment, you will receive annual restaurant credit and the cachet of being associated with a stellar project!
 
For more information please email jsimon@fullplateconsulting.com and put "Berkeley Investment" in the Subject or call Joan Simon at Full Plate Restaurant Consulting at 707-795-4885.

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Long-Established SF Financial District Restaurant For Sale By Owner
 
Full liquor license, 4000 sq. ft. including office; does a lot of private parties. Below market lease 2+5+5 with an accommodating landlord more interested in reliability than squeezing every dime. Foot traffic is moderate so you need to have what it takes to make your concept (full dining, not a lounge) a destination.

Asking $365,000 for direct sale without owner having to pay a broker's fee. Out of town—so inquiries are being vetted by Joan Simon of Full Plate Restaurant Consulting at jsimon@fullplateconsulting.com. 707-795-4885.

 

All content © 2008 Marcia Gagliardi. I am more than happy if you want to link to my reviews and content elsewhere (thanks, glad you dig it), but republishing any part of them in any way, shape or form is strictly prohibited until we talk first. Please take a look at my Creative Commons license for more detail.

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